ChicagO Multiethnic Prevention and Surveillance Study (COMPASS): Increased Response Rates Among African American Residents in Low Socioeconomic Status Neighborhoods


African American (AA) populations experience persistent health disparities in the USA. Low representation in bio-specimen research precludes stratified analyses and creates challenges in studying health outcomes among AA populations. Previous studies examining determinants of bio-specimen research participation among minority participants have focused on individual-level barriers and facilitators. Neighborhood-level contextual factors may also inform bio-specimen research participation, possibly through social norms and the influence of social views and behaviors on neighbor’s perspectives. We conducted an epidemiological study of residents in 5108 Chicago addresses to examine determinants of bio-specimen research participation among predominantly AA participants solicited for participation in the first 6 years of ChicagO Multiethnic Prevention and Surveillance Study (COMPASS). We used a door-to-door recruitment strategy by interviewers of predominantly minority race and ethnicity. Participants were compensated with a $50 gift card. We achieved response rates of 30.4% for non-AA addresses and 58.0% for AA addresses, with as high as 80.3% response among AA addresses in low socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods. After multivariable adjustment, we found approximately 3 times the odds of study participation among predominantly AA addresses in low vs. average SES neighborhoods (odds ratio (OR) = 3.06; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.20–4.24). Conversely, for non-AA addresses, we observed no difference in the odds of study participation in low vs. average SES neighborhoods (OR = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.69–1.14) after multivariable adjustment. Our findings suggest that AA participants in low SES neighborhoods may be recruited for bio-specimen research through door-to-door approaches with compensation. Future studies may elucidate best practices to improve bio-specimen research participation among minority populations.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study may be available on request from the senior author, HA. The data are not publicly available due to their containing information that could compromise the privacy of research participants.


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We thank Tomide Owolabi and Siam Rezwan for literature review support and Michele Thompson for administrative support.


This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute [grant numbers 5P30CA014599-44 and T32CA193193], the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences [grant number P30ES027792-03], the National Institute on Aging [grant number T32AG000243], the Susan G. Komen Foundation [grant number GTDR16376189], and the University of Chicago Department of Public Health Sciences.

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Correspondence to David J. Press.

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Code Availability

The code that supports the findings of this study may be available on request from the corresponding author, DJP.

Ethics Approval

The study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division (

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Press, D.J., Aschebrook-Kilfoy, B., Lauderdale, D. et al. ChicagO Multiethnic Prevention and Surveillance Study (COMPASS): Increased Response Rates Among African American Residents in Low Socioeconomic Status Neighborhoods. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 8, 186–198 (2021).

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  • Epidemiology
  • Bio-specimen
  • Research participation
  • Health disparities
  • Study design